Posted in Discussion Questions

Topsight Discussion 2.0

Hey guys, it’s me again.

While reading through the second half of Topsight I was thinking about some of the things that came up in the discussion last time. Mostly focusing on ethics and the ways that researchers can influence their findings.

In chapter 22, “Describing Systematic Issues”,  breaks down the differences between claims, reasons, and evidence. And while reading through this section it seemed pretty self explanatory, or something that shouldn’t need explaining, I thought again about how sometimes people believe things regardless of the reasons or evidence- or lack of. His chart with the Claim->Reason->Evidence looks simple, but I think it is very important to make sure that one has actual reasons and evidence for the claims they support and when discussing findings and their validity.

My questions on this are:

Can you think of any contexts where spelling out your reasoning and evidence is not important?

Is there anything that needs to be added to this model? Is it too simple?

Posted in Discussion Questions

Topsight Discussion

Spinuzzi’s concept of “Topsight” is the idea of seeing “the big picture”. This allows one to efficiently identify larger problems that are trickling down into the smaller problems that one would see on a day-to-day basis in the organization. Spinuzzi notes that a doctor would identify the disease rather than simply treat the symptoms, and this is what one aims to do by gaining Topsight and applying it to their organization.

Spinuzzi gives us a guide on how to conduct research in the workplace/organization, noting things to look for a providing the possible perspectives of those we would be researching. A few things that stuck out to me personally were the connections to ethics, and the concept of Topsight itself.

My questions are:

How can you see the concept of Topsight as a tool to apply to your life/organizations you are involved in currently? How would it change from a workplace setting to a club or social setting?

Are there any industries that you feel this method would not be helpful? In what ways would it need to be changed? Could you see this being applied to your future field?

Posted in Assignments, Creative Enagement

I Have No Creative Title to Offer

For this project I chose No. 23, “Book Report”

The challenge’s description is to call a friend and ask for a book recommendation. After receiving the title and a short summary, the goal is to create a cover for this book you’ve never read. So I called up one of my friends who is into obscure things and asked her what she’s currently reading. The book, Hyperspace, according to Alex is, “About parallel universes or something I dunno the guy is like a scientist or something”.

So initially I was thinking of things that I could do with this, but having no knowledge of any characters there wasn’t any kind of real subject that I felt should be featured on the cover, so I decided I would try and create something abstract with a spacey vibe, which is about what I imagine reading the actual book would feel like- minus any of the confusing scientific jargon that I’m sure it contains.

My method, I decided, would to be use a leftover board I had and use a technique that involves a sort of water-coloring using crayola markers and salt. So I started with a blank boardhyperspace-2 and thought that I would try and go with a playing-card opposite kind of thing to give it a parallel kind of feel. I didn’t want the sides to be too different because everyone knows parallel universes are infinite and most of them only have small changes, like our universe but if noodles were never invented.

After I gave it a wash, by adding water and trying to convince the ink to go where I wanted it, I added salt to create small “blooms” in the ink, which I hoped would look like baby galaxies. This resulted in a rather cloudy mess.hyperspace-3

Once the water dried it started to look more like I had imagined, thank god, and I thought about outlining some of the blooms but the challenge had a time limit of 60 minutes and I knew if I started I would never stop. Once everything was dried I added my title, which I felt should be kept simple and straightforward considering the scientific-ness of the book.

Final product:


My thoughts after this were mostly “Man book covers are stupid hard”. I never really thought about how hard it would be to create a single image to sum up an entire plotline. I guess, realistically, I got lucky that Alex was reading something like this, because I really cannot draw people to save my life. But at the same time, her description was ridiculously vague and left me wondering what the cover artist for Harry Potter was thinking when they had to compile all of that together.

Posted in Rhetorcial Ecologies

Rhetorical Ecologies: Teaching

As a (potential) future teacher I often think about the classes I am in, and what teaching that class may be like.

Now obviously teaching is a rhetorical situation, it’s a captive audience, but keeping the students engaged is really what makes it challenging. In the articles that we have read, rhetoric has been discussed in a few different ways. We’ve added the concept of ‘Kairos’, ‘exigencies’, and read further into how the rhetorical situation is ongoing in our lives. When we say that “Rhetoric is everywhere”, we really do mean everywhere. 

Some of the concepts discussed countered what we had been taught about rhetoric in the past. For example, Edbaur’s piece notes that the triangle model is “oversimplified”, and yet that is exactly what is being taught about rhetoric in public schools.

triangle  The Rhetorical Triangle

I do understand that the extent that we are discussing the topic may be extensive for a high school class, but at the same time I do feel almost lied to about the extent of the topic. Rhetoric is by no means as simple as the triangle model suggests, especially with the number of rhetorical situations that we find ourselves in on a day-to-day basis. It’s as if a Biology teacher explained evolution like, “Well so there were animals, and then they started mating depending on what physical traits they valued, and now animals look different”, nevermind the millions of years it’s gone on or how many species have come and gone between then and now. The articles we have been discussing for 306 have really made me think about rhetoric and how it is being taught, and how often we oversimplify things .